Slips

I was half-amused when my niece added me on Instagram. We had a ten-year gap. We used to be really close until they left for New York. Back in 2010 she did not want me to leave for Manila "because you seem like a big brother to me." I had to hold my tears until I reached my room upstairs and remembered staring at this hardbound book by David Sheff which had been bought by my aunt at a nearby Borders in Palo Alto. The last time I've seen her was 2012, that Year of Magical Thinking, when I still smoked cigarettes and listened to Why? and poured all my feelings at my Livejournal blog. On her Instagram account she writes a bit of poetry, a bit of #artsy photos, a #selfie here and there. At my defunct Deviantart is our photo together in one of those bus rides around Edgewater, she clutching her V-Tech toy camera (with slides in the viewfinder), I taking the artsy photos with my Canon SX100 IS: there were heavily-photoshopped macro shots, light-years before the advent of the #nofilter movement; food photos that's just not mouthwatering (pre-#foodporn); and photos of feet on dried leaves or on subway platforms that would become the precursors of #fromwhereIstand. Now she was taking those photos with her iPhone. Pretty soon my three-year-old son will take the same photos ten years from now, and she will feel a slight revulsion when he adds her in the future. Someone in the family--maybe my Dad--used to tell me that the fastest way to cook rice in a rice cooker is to get busy. In this case, I had unexpectedly left the house for two weeks without notice, and when I got back I found out that the lights were on (my bad), the same musty cabinet had the same shirts, and that there was nothing different aside from the rice cooker, now filled with a profusion of mold. There were bills at the gate's built-in mailbox, and then there was a sealed envelope. The stamps were from a faraway place. Just when I was expecting a typewritten note or a handwritten letter, there was none. Maybe it had one about The Little Prince, but it dissolved a long time ago. I tried to examine the paper more closely, finding clues, feeling hints of light and heavy writing strokes, but there was none. I could only guess about what it meant or said.